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Greece: Taxi Drivers-Minister Talks Fail; Strike Indefinite (videos)

The talks between representatives of the Greek Taxi Drivers Confederation and the Minister of Transportation Yannis Ragousis on Wednesday morning failed. Ragousis did not answer positive to taxi drivers’ demands to proceed to a gradual opening of their profession for a period of at least 6 months. According to their representatives, the minister did not even bothered to look at their list of requests.

This angered the protesters gathered outside the ministry who started to throw bottles of water and other items. When some ‘hot headed’ attempted to enter the ministry, riot police fired tear gas to ‘calm them down’.

Ένταση στο υπουργείο Μεταφορών by fon1972

Some cab drivers had brought their wives and children with them. The children gave flowers to the policemen – the normal policemen, not the riot ones.

Ακαρπη η συνάντηση με Ραγκούση by fon1972

The opening of the profession will make it possible to obtain a taxi licence for an amount of some 3,500-4,000 euro. However in the recent years the usual price for a licence was 150,000-200,000 euro. The majority of the taxi owners claim that they have not managed to pay back the loans they took in order to obtain a license.

The opening of the taxi drivers profession will dash the licence worth and will economically ruin the old owners.

The taxi sector has been suffering suffered from the economic crisis as the strict austerity force customers to rather to use the public transport (ticket prices €1,20-1,40) than a cab (minimum price €3,20). Was it hard to get a cab when you needed one  in Athens, now you can see dozens of yellow cabs parked at the city and suburbs taxi ranks.

After the failure of the talks, the taxi drivers decided to continue their strike indefinitely. Wednesday afternoon they will decide on other actions too. Apart from blocking access to airports and ports across the country, they also lift barriers allowing motorists to pass toll booths withoout paying fees.

The taxi drivers’ strike that started on Monday morning has caused  unbelievable troubles to tourists arriving or leaving Greece.

Αποκλεισμένοι τουρίστες σε λιμάνια και… by fon1972

The tourism sector makes dramatic appeals to taxi drivers to end the strike amid the high tourism season. Some cruise liners carrying thousands of tourists did not dock to Greek ports due to the blocakdes.

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  1. The one valid point the taxi owners have is that license they traded for 200.000 euro and that will become worthless now. 10 Years ago the same happened in the Netherlands. In the end the owners got certain tax-arrangements for the part of their loans they did not manage to pay so not to go bankrupt.
    Fact is that the limited amount of licences combined with the posibility to trade in those licenses let to this problem. As in the Netherlands here too the authorities probably failed to apply the law and let this fester.
    But if Holland is anything to go by this liberalization is doomed from the start. After ten years they abollished big parts of that law because, the amount of Taxis did double but the prices went UP too! Service and quality dropped dramatically and less and less people were using Taxis. If someone reads Dutch they can look here google translate might help.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      thanks Antonis very useful info – the same will happen here I’m afraid too, also due to the economic crisis.